Dean Koontz’s The Face

Overview: Ethan Truman has been given a major puzzle to figure out. After all, he is well suited to puzzles. Ethan is a former homicide detective. A chief-of-security gig shouldn’t require this kind of puzzle-solving, even if his employer is one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. Who sent Channing Manheim such weird gift boxes? Is there any special meaning to the contents? And why is Ethan having such odd premonitions?

Story Telling: This book might have taken place during the Christmas season, but it’s spooky.

Likes: Ethan and Hannah held some of the strongest love that I have seen in novels. And the best part is that Ethan wasn’t belittled for his devotion.

Hazard Yancy is, I guess, Mr. Koontz’s version of Harry Bosch. He’s bigger an has the same mission-orientation thinking, though he does seem to be a bigger lead-magnet.

Fric is a pretty mellow child. He is also lucky enough to have Mrs. McBee and Ethan around.

Dunny made a hard decision, but with the right heart.

Dislikes: Corky is the biggest educated idiot that I have ever run across. No dummy, the individual doesn’t decide what words mean. There has to be some order, or else nobody will be happy. Not even the anarchists. In my experience, anarchists want to be free from the law, but others have to live under it.

Manheim, AKA: Ghost Dad, couldn’t see past himself. He even denied his son the magic of Christmas, because Manheim knew that he wasn’t the best father. Speaking of Fric’s family, his mother wasn’t any better. Some might even say that she was worse.

Favorite Character: Maxwell Dalton had such a strong sense of willpower. The coolest thing is that Corky never knew that he had lost.

Favorite Quote: ““He’s a good man,” Rachel said, as he expected she would. “And like all good people in a dark world, of course he has enemies.””

Favorite Scene: There were a couple of real good scenes. One is when Hazard is considering the idea that his Granny Rose knows what she’s talking about. The other is when Maxwell Dalton is found. The last is when Ethan gets fifty-six messages from the other side.

Conclusion: This whole story seems to have come from Jesus’ explanation of the greatest love mankind is capable of. it’s a terrific book. Enjoy it.

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Michael Phillip Cash’s Monsterland

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Cash for the pleasure of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Wyatt is looking at a static year of going to a community college, and working at Instaburger. He and his two friends are fortunate when they are gifted with four Presidential Passes to the new theme park, Monsterland. In a park filled with werewolves, vampires, and zombies, what could possibly go wrong. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t go.

Story Telling: Well, we have a brand new urban fantasy from Mr. Cash. This time we get to see the mainstays of the horror genre.

Likes: Carter White had a couple of thankless jobs. One, he is a cop in the small town of Copper Valley, and he is the step-father to two teenage boys. Wyatt and Josh might not be his children by blood, but Carter was their father in every other way that counted.

There was one fascinating zombie here. He managed to hold on to his humanity.

For a novel about werewolves, vampires, and zombies, this book wasn’t over-the-top with gore and violence. This made the book enjoyable.

Dislikes: Nolan was possessive, mean, and violent. This is not a good combination in a monster book.

Oh, and Josh’s quote of “you’re not my father,” is completely wrong. Carter fed them, sheltered them, and worried more about their welfare than some biological parents do.

Vincent was evil, that was something that can be seen before we reached the park.

By the way those little warning bells going off in your head, means that something wrong is happening.

Oh, vampires, if you seduce someone, and take away his or her free will, then he or she didn’t chose to be a vampire.

Favorite Character: It’s Carter White, and General Anthony this time around.

Favorite Quote: We’ve got two, and Mr. Cash landed a good hit on the PC crowd with them. ““I prefer to call them zombies.”

“We don’t like to refer to them that way. The politically correct term is vitality challenged.””

And the second: “Hunchback. But we actually prefer to be called vertically impaired.”

Favorite Scene: One of the best parts of the novel was when Wyatt understood what happened to Jack Baldwin.

Conclusion: This is a fun read, and fairly safe for Halloween.

Agatha Christi’s A Caribbean Mystery-Miss Marple 10

Overview: Miss Marple is so fortunate. Her nephew, Raymond, has sent her to the Caribbean for her health. The weather is pleasant, the staff is pleasant, most of the guests are pleasant. For Miss Marple, it’s–in a word–boring. There isn’t anything to puzzle over, until poor Major Palgrave keels over. What could have happened to the old man? Miss Marple intends to find out.

Story Telling: Miss Marple is back with her gossip-y way of finding out who did it. It is the premier cozy mystery.

Likes: Miss Marple is her usual busy-body self. Though she met her match in Mr. Rafiel. I do agree with Miss Marple’s conclusion about sex in today’s novels.

Jackson and Molly were interesting to watch.

Dislikes: Tim seemed so likeable yet, he said some stupid things. Things like mental illness not being hereditary.

And Senora de Caspearo needs to get over what her hang ups are. People don’t have the Evil Eye when they have glass eyes or when you find them ugly.

Favorite Character: Mr. Rafiel so fits. Cantankerous, yet he sure enjoyed a good mystery.

Favorite Quote: From Mr. Rafiel: ““Speak up Nemesis,” he said. “We’ve got to have chapter and verse of some kind.””

Favorite Scene: The final showdown will make you want to bang your head on the wall. It was well done.

Conclusion: I enjoyed this story, it was a fun read. As well, it can show you how to hide a murderer in plain sight.

John Canning’s 50 True Tales of Terror

Overview: Mr. Canning has quite the collection in this book. Fifty stories of the most terrifying situations that people have found themselves in.

Story Telling: Pretty much, we have fifty short stories here. The only difference is that this collection is true, even if that truth is the truth of legend.

Likes: This will be a bit different from my other story collection reviews. I enjoy true stories, and some history. It was even fascinating to find out that ‘Gengis Khan’ roughly translates to ‘King of Kings.’ Needless to say, I’m not using that title for any man.

Dislikes: Historical or other true stories should just be told, at least in my opinion. Yet Mr. Canning had a way of letting the reader know what he thought of certain situations. In particular, the story about the disastrous airing of “The War of the Worlds.” Yes, there were four warnings about the fictional status of the show, but those who panicked missed those disclaimers, except for the very last one. This attitude ruined the book for me.

Favorite Story: Both “Desert Flight” and “The Day the Germans Hanged Me” were the best of this collection.

Conclusion: This was a fascinating read, even with it’s faults. Though, I’m glad that I live in this day and age.

Chris Knopf’s Cop Job-Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery 6

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Alfie Aldergreen seems like a harmless guy, even if he is a paranoid schizophrenic. I mean, come on man, he’s in a wheelchair for crying out loud. Somebody felt threatened by him, though. That’s why he was found submerged in Hawk Pond. Jackie Swaitkowski and Sam Acquillo want to know who would want Alfie dead?

Story Telling: Okay, we have a semi-amateur detective mystery here. Sam also doubles as a specialized cabinet-maker.

Likes: Alfie was fun, at least in Sam’s memories. And Joe Sullivan along with Ross Semple wanted to find his killer(s).

Dislikes: Okay, most of this falls to Sam. What kind of dad really advises his daughter to sleep with a guy, but don’t marry him. Heck, don’t make any commitment at all. Needless to say, this didn’t endear him to my mind.

Also it seemed like Mr. Knopf let his biases flood the book. We were gifted with a brag-fest of how the two main characters managed to defeat the cigarettes, and how nasty the cigarettes were. A guy talking against “undocumented immigrants” is shown to be a bigot, even thought “undocumented immigrant” is an euphemism for illegal immigrant. As in someone who isn’t supposed to be here anyway. I don’t care if they overstayed their visas, or snuck their way in.

The cream of the crop is Alfie’s social worker. Just because her brother was released from a psychiatric hospital and stopped taking his medication leading to his disappearance, she wants to institutionalize everyone who has mental problems. Which would include everyone but 0.01% of the population.

Favorites: Sorry guys, there isn’t any this time around.

Conclusion: This book isn’t all bad. I just didn’t care for Sam’s attitude. Personal biases show up everywhere. And this is my biases talking.

Michael Connelly’s The Gods of Guilt-Mickey Haller 5

Overview: Mickey is still practicing criminal defense law after losing his run for District Attorney. Now a murder case has landed in his lap with a very familiar victim. What was Gloria Dayton doing back in Los Angeles? Did Andre La Crosse kill her, or is he just a convenient patsy?

Story Telling: We are with Mickey, so this is a first-person legal thriller. Warning: read ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ first. This one will make more sense that way.

Likes: Mickey has one heck of a mentor in Legal Siegel.
Their relationship was a keystone of this novel’s enjoyment factor.

Maggie McFierce may have been irked at Mickey, but she still strongly encouraged their daughter to keep a relationship with her father.

Dislikes: Hayley, you were a spoilt brat this time around. Even if Mickey hadn’t gotten the man, who killed your friend and her mother, off on a technicality, it may not of stopped the accident. Life happens to the best of us. And it sometimes ends before we can make amends. Defense attorneys are just as important as prosecutors are. It’s called ‘checks and balances.’

Favorite Character: Legal Siegel, especially the way he treated Mickey like a son.

Favorite Quote: Legal tried to help Mickey out of his funk here. “The point is that there are plenty of people out judging us every day of our lives and for every move we make. The gods of guilt are many. You don’t need to add to them.”

Favorite Scene: One of the best scenes would be just about any time that Mickey is around Legal, but particularly when the team breaks him out for the pizza party.

Conclusion: This was a terrific novel. I just hope that they next Harry Bosch novel doesn’t lean so far into politics again.

Dean Koontz’s Hideaway

Overview: Hatch Harrison seems to have lucked out in life. He owns his own business, his wife is living her dream, and they’ve both survived a horrible car accident, albeit with a lot of help. The only blight seems to be the tragic death of their five-year-old son a few years prior to the accident. It’s during the trial period of an adoption that the first real signs of trouble hit. Are these visions coming because Hatch lost something in the accident? Or could it be that Hatch gained some sort of gift during his recovery?

Story Telling: I’m not sure if you would call this one a psychological thriller or a paranormal tale. Either way works for me.

Likes: Hatch had a pretty fun attitude. He saw a temperament that he didn’t like, and he avoided it in his own personality.

Lindsey was able to bypass despair when she needed to. Also, when things were a bit odd for them, she was able to roll with it.

Regina was pretty neat, once she stopped trying to sabotage her own happiness.

Dislikes: Vassago’s attitude was sickening. The sad thing is that he was completely devolving as a killer and he didn’t even see it.

Favorite Character: I have to go with Hatch.

Favorite Quote: This one was good, just for the imagery it projected. “Sooner or later, no doubt, a marching moron army would secure the passage of laws forbidding the adoption of a green-eyed, blond, deaf child by anyone but green-eyed, blond, deaf parents.” There was another one where Hatch decides that they would stand as a family or fall as one. But for the life of me, I can’t find it again.

Favorite Scene: One of the best parts was when Hatch and Regina saw Lindsey’s latest masterpiece. Then it eased into one of the best evenings for the family.

Conclusion: This was just a fun read. You can’t lose with Mr. Koontz, especially if you want a happy ending.

Michael Connelly’s The Burning Room-Harry Bosch 19

Overview: Harry has a year left on his DROP, and a new partner, again, Lucia Soto. Their case is a bit different for one of the Open Unsolved Unit’s cases. See, a member of a mariachi band, Orlando Merced, was shot and paralyzed ten years ago. Now, he is dead, as a result of the shooting. There’s just one problem for the killer this time around. You see, Lucy is so much like Harry, down to her mission, that their odds of closing this case are better than good. She even has an open case that eats at her hear: a fire at an apartment complex that killed several, including children at a daycare center in the complex. Will her formidable drive help them solve her case as well?

Story Telling: This is still Harry Bosch’s third person police procedural.

Likes: Harry makes a pretty good mentor. Lucy seems so much like a younger Bosch, except for the fact that she doesn’t smoke.

Maddie is taking her dreams to be a cop seriously. She’s joined a branch of the LAPD called ‘Explorers,’ along with a few volunteer programs.

Dislikes: I’ll be honest, I almost quit this book. It’s extremely hard to read out loud, unless you understand Spanish. The names, the places, even the music style, started to trip me up. Yes, there is large Hispanic population in Los Angeles. But this novel almost seemed to be trying to cater to that population. Even Lucy mentioned “white flight.” Just because someone moves from a neighborhood doesn’t mean that person is a racist. He or she could have moved for safety reasons, for the chance to get a better job, for a better school. There are many reasons. Though in the case presented by this book, it’s more likely that a white family would move simply because of the language barrier. Why do all of the efforts to be tolerant have to fall on the white families?

Also, the idea of a company seeking to fire someone to save on the pensions strikes me as immoral. You just don’t treat people like that.

Favorite Character: It would be Maddie this time around.

Favorite Quote: Rick Jackson has a good attitude about ‘the book.’ “The book comes through. You guys get a slice of pie while you were in town?”

Favorite Scene: I enjoyed the way Harry watched over Maddie during her ‘Carding’ sting. She never knew it either.

Conclusion: I’m not quite sure how to take this one. I’ll wait until I read “The Gods of Guilt” to pass judgment on the Bosch Universe.